Streetvibes Wins International Journalism Award

Gregory Flannery (first on the left), Streetvibes editor, poses for a picture with the other INSP Journalism award winners. Photo courtesy of INSP.

Gregory Flannery (first on the left), Streetvibes editor, poses for a picture with the other INSP Journalism award winners. Photo courtesy of INSP.

Streetvibes Wins International Journalism Award

Advocacy has a New Voice in Cincinnati and the World is Listening

Streetvibes, the monthly newspaper of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH), has won international acclaim for its reporting. In Bergen, Norway today, Gregory Flannery, editor, accepted the Best Feature Story award from the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) for his 2008 article ‘We Are Their Slaves.’

The article details the plight of Puerto Rican workers at the local meat packing plant, Cincinnati Processing. Trapped in dead-end jobs, barely making enough money to eat and unable to return home, these workers were faced with homelessness if they lost their jobs. The promises made to them by Diverse Personnel Co., also known as Able/Diverse Personnel Co., sounded like a usual tactic used by human traffickers – the promise of a better life somewhere else.

The workers were required to sign a contract forcing individuals to live in company-controlled housing, use company-owned transportation and charges for both, including fines for unkempt living conditions, which virtually eliminated their paycheck.

While the FBI will not acknowledge any on-going investigations, Sreetvibes has learned that allegations of human trafficking against Diverse are being investigated. Additionally, the United Food and Commercial Workers union has been invited to participate in discussions with Cincinnati Processing to improve working conditions at the plant. Kroger, a key customer of the facility, has yet to acknowledge any responsibility for the unsanitary food handling practices.

“This article and its results prove that print newspapers still serve a critical role,” says Greg Flannery. “Sacrificing serious investigation and thoughtful consideration of important issues for the sake of profits serves no one.”

“This award from INSP underscores the importance the print media has in protecting the rights of individuals and holding accountable those who would exploit them. Streetvibes will continue to ask the difficult questions and challenge authority because everyone, especially the most vulnerable in our society, need a reliable voice.”

In the past year, Streetvibes has experienced an explosion of growth. An ever expanding slate of award winning writers and photographers give their time and expertise to keep the Queen City informed about issues of importance. The vendors frequently sell out monthly print runs, allowing the paper to expand production to a twice-monthly publishing schedule starting in July.

“Our effort to make Streetvibes an authoritative source for information and agencies relevant to the plight of individuals experiencing homeless is paying off and this award from INSP demonstrates this,” says Josh Spring, director of the Coalition.

About INSP

INSP is a global engine for local poverty solutions across the globe. It connects and supports over 100 street paper projects in some 40 countries worldwide, and supports new projects in the developing world, to create employment for homeless people.